Philadelphia Inquirer - August 18, 1980
A hungry Maddox feasts on Mets
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK – Garry Maddox came out of Pittsburgh in one of those great 3-for-28 streaks hitters love so much. He got to Chicago, and he and Dallas Green sat down for a talk.
"It's a funny thing," Green said yesterday. "Garry and I talked a little bit about whether maybe it would help him to sit down for three or four days, work with (batting coach) Billy (DeMars) and what have you. But both of us thought it over and said, The hell with it' – he'll work it out.
"That," said Green, "was one of the better decisions I didn't make."
Maddox scorched the Mets this weekend like the guy who hit .330 in 1976. In the five-game series he was 10-for-21 with 10 RBIs. He had nine hits in his last 15 trips. Yesterday he crunched two very long home runs into the second tier in left. The first one, in fact, almost cleared the second deck. And remember, this guy isn't exactly Reginald Jackson.
"Yeah, I was wondering about that," Maddox chuckled. "It did seem kind of long for me. I didn't stop and see where it landed or anything. But guys said it went pretty good. That's something I have to feel good about, because I haven't done it."
Maddox was so down about his offense that he went to DeMars a month ago, and they began tearing apart and reconstructing his whole swing. Still, it took a while for the stroke to jell again, and Maddox wasn't exactly enjoying the wait.
"Thoughts went through my mind like, 'You have to turn it around... this is not fun the way you're playing,'" he said. "You just try to look at every day as the day that might start you off."
Unfortunately, for the Mets, that day came this weekend.
NOTES: The good news for Randy Lerch was that he won his first game since July 1. The bad news was, Larry Christenson's return means he's out of the rotation. "He'll be used (in middle and long relief)," said Green. "But the other guys are pitching so well now I can't afford to foul that up."... In yesterday's opener, Steve Carlton gave up 10 hits in a start for only the second time all year (he also fanned 11). But Carlton refused to come out early. "I know Lefty wanted to beat the Mets because they'd stuck a couple L's on him," Green said. "He went out there with a purpose." Two of Carlton's six losses are to New York, and he is 25-27 against them lifetime.... Carlton probably will go for his 20th win Friday.... Pete Rose was asked when writers should start feeding him questions about George Brett, who has a 29-game hitting streak going. "Wait another 10 games," Rose said.... Composite score for the series: Phillies 40, Mets 12.... All you really need to know about the series is that George Vukovich was playing the outfield when each of the first four games ended.... Mike Schmidt's seven-game hitting streak was snapped in Game Two yesterday.... Phils are off today, host the Padres starting tomorrow. The matchups: Dick Ruthven (10-8) vs. Bob Shirley (9-8) tomorrow, Nino Espinosa (3-3) vs. the legendary Juan Tyrone Eichclberger (3-0) Wednesday, Larry Christenson (4-0) vs. Rick Wise (4-5) Thursday. ... In case you missed it, the Padres used two pitchers as pinch-hitters in their 20-inning game with Houston, Randy Jones and John Curtis.
Blazing Phillies sweep Mets, 9-4, 4-1
Carlton notches 19th win
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK – Eight days ago they had fallen to a place they had hardly ever been before. From Baker Bowl! to Manny Mota, the Phillies had seen; their low points over the years. But-the final moments of a lost weekend in Three Rivers Stadium seemed as low a point as you could remember.
The drizzle fell grimly as a fourth straight loss to the Pirates played itself out. And it was tough to avoid wondering whether last Sunday marked a sad Beginning Of The End for a once-great team.
You wondered how they would react to Pittsburgh. Their manager pointed his finger and screamed the word "quit." Their press and their fans all but buried them. If they needed people to prove wrong, they had a cast of about 2 million to choose from.
It is hard to say what has happened to them in the seven days since. But they have stuck together an amazing seven-win, one-loss week – capped by a doubleheader sweep of the Mets yesterday, 9-4 in the first game, 4-1 in the second.
It was a week that told you they are still capable of brilliance. And, more importantly, maybe it was a week in which they reminded themselves of that, too.
"Did we need something like this? Hell, yeah. Everybody does," said Garry Maddox yesterday, laughing with a looseness the Phillies' clubhouse hasn't seen in a long time.
"You go to Pittsburgh and drop four games, and man, you feel it. You feel it mentally, no question about it. You feel depressed. Just like what happened, sometimes you need something drastic to turn it completely around.
"After having the rough series like we did in Pittsburgh, I think it shows a lot about our team. It shows a lot -about our character, being able to battle back after a tough series."
Perhaps nothing showed that more than the second game yesterday – Game Five of the five-game blitzeroo of the Mets.
They had just leveled the Mets with another nine-run, 12-hit sledgehammer in the opener. Bake McBride, Maddox and Lonnie Smith all hit homers. Larry Bowa whacked a put-it-away two-run single.
They handed Steve Carlton a 9-1 lead in the sixth, and Carlton fiercely closed it out for his 19th win. Eight years to the day earlier, he had won No. 20 (and No. 15 in a row) on the way to 27-8.
Then Randy Lerch got behind, 1-0, early in the second game. They blew a couple of early shots at a thrower named Roy Lee Jackson. Nobody would have knocked them had they split.
"They easily could have said, 'The hell with it,'" said Dallas Green. "They got four. That was very comfortable. But everybody obviously wanted to get that fifth one. We busted it. I think that showed a little bit of the character I'm looking for."
The Phils had more strikeouts (three) than hits (two) against Jackson (1-4) for the first three innings. And one of the hits was a bunt single by Bowa.
But in the fourth, Manny Trillo roped a one-out single to right. Then Maddox cranked Jackson's next pitch over the same auxiliary scoreboard in left he cleared with his homer in the first game, and it was 2-1. Maddox was 3-for-7 with five RBIs in the doubleheader.
Then Lonnie Smith manufactured two more runs in the fifth. And he got them not so much with his speed but with the threat of it.
He bounced a one-out single to left, then loped to third in front of left-fielder Steve Henderson on Pete Rose's hit-and-run single.
But Henderson couldn't just stand there and watch, that meekly, the way he had watched Maddox casually take a base on him Saturday. So he threw late and wildly to third, allowing Rose to go to second.
All Elliott Maddox, the Mets' third baseman, could do was block the ball off his chest. When it caromed way over toward shortstop, Smith bluffed a move home.
"I only really thought about going after it was too late," Smith said. "I didn't know the ball rolled that far. When I looked and saw where it was, then I thought about it."
He stopped immediately. But just the first step panicked Maddox. He unleashed a hurried throw to the plate that bounced to the screen. Smith scored, and Rose went to third. Mike Schmidt got Rose home with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
That made life easier for Lerch (4-13), who deserved to have life easy for once. And he pitched well for the second straight start.
"He pitched more like the way we expected him to," Green said. "He used the change-up a lot better than he has in the past. And when he got in trouble, he pitched over that."
Bowa avoided a Lee Mazzilli takeout slide to turn a tough double play for him in the sixth. So Lerch rolled into the seventh with a three-hitter. But a leadoff single by E. Maddox got the Phils' bullpen going. And a twoout walk to Dan Norman (.159, three straight strikeouts this weekend) brought the curtain down on Lerch.
Ron Reed came on to pitch to Henderson, the first Mets batter in the entire series to come to the plate after the fourth inning representing the tying run. But after wild-pitching the runners to second and third, Reed got Henderson to bounce a 3-2 fastball to Trillo. And that was the weekend's final crisis.
What happened to these guys after Pittsburgh? Where did they find the emotion, the brilliance, the magic that brought them back into the chase? Guys struggled to put their fingers on it, but it was no simple formula.
"Yeah, I can put my finger on it," said Rose. "Bowa's swinging the bat. Garry Maddox is swinging the bat. Boonie is swinging the bat. Schmitty's swinging the bat again. Before, we were just relying on Bake and Schmitty and Lonnie to get us runs. This was a team series. This was something you like to see. I wish we had a game tomorrow."
They were so good, Green didn't even have to cut loose with what he laughingly called "my typical doubleheader speech" between games. You know, the one that rattles walls, includes words such as "quit" and can be heard in Wyoming?
"One thing I do know is when to keep my mouth shut," Green beamed. "Well, uh, at times I do."